This post was inspired by years and years of watching movies, series, and fanfics royally and hilariously fuck up the use of names in the Russian language, coming to the point where, if I see another pair of best buddies call each other by full name, I will shoot something, I swear to God.
There are 3 ways people in Russia address each other, and they denote different levels of formality, and the relationship between the speakers. You should know this stuff if you wanna write anything that includes Russian people talking to each other, because if you get it wrong, it will be, alternatively, hilarious or cringe-worthy. I have seen soo much of this in fanfic it’s not funny anymore. So read up y’all!
1. Name + Patronymic.
A patronym, or patronymic, is a component of a surname based on the given name of one’s father, grandfather or an even earlier male ancestor. (thank you, Wikipedia!) A patronymic is not a middle name. Russian people don’t have middle names, period. But we all have patronymics!
Used towards: your teacher, your big boss, a senior citizen with whom you don’t have a close relationship (say, your classmate’s grandma), your doctor, any kind of professor or scholar when you address them formally, a client when you’re in the service industry/work with people (not always, but very often).
Example: Ivan Petrovich, Sergey Vladimirovich, Anna Anatolyevna, Maria Sergeevna, etc
old people really need to learn how to text accurately to the mood they’re trying to represent like my boss texted me wondering when my semester is over so she can start scheduling me more hours and i was like my finals are done the 15th! And she texts back “Yay for you….” how the fuck am i supposed to interpret that besides passive aggressive
Someone needs to do a linguistic study on people over 50 and how they use the ellipsis. It’s FASCINATING. I never know the mood they’re trying to convey.
I actually thought for a long time that texting just made my mother cranky. But then I watched my sister send her a funny text, and my mother was laughing her ass off. But her actual texted response?
Like, she had actual goddamn tears in her eyes, and that was what she considered an appropriate reply to the joke.I just marvelled for a minute like ‘what the actual hell?’ and eventually asked my mom a few questions. I didn’t want to make her feel defensive or self-conscious or anything, it just kind of blew my mind, and I wanted to know what she was thinking.
Turns out that she’s using the ellipsis the same way I would use a dash, and also to create ‘more space between words’ because it ‘just looks better to her’. Also, that I tend to perceive an ellipsis as an innate ‘downswing’, sort of like the opposite of the upswing you get when you ask a question, but she doesn’t. And that she never uses exclamation marks, because all her teachers basically drilled it into her that exclamation marks were horrible things that made you sound stupid and/or aggressive.
So whereas I might sent a response that looked something like:
“Yay! That sounds great – where are we meeting?”
My mother, whilst meaning the exact same thing, would go:
‘Yay. That sounds great… where are we meeting?”
And when I look at both of those texts, mine reads like ‘happy/approval’ to my eye, whereas my mother’s looks flat. Positive phrasing delivered in a completely flat tone of voice is almost always sarcastic when spoken aloud, so written down, it looks sarcastic or passive-aggressive.
On the reverse, my mother thinks my texts look, in her words, ‘ditzy’ and ‘loud’. She actually expressed confusion, because she knows I write and she thinks that I write well when I’m constructing prose, and she, apparently, could never understand why I ‘wrote like an airhead who never learned proper English’ in all my texts. It led to an interesting discussion on conversational text. Texting and text-based chatting are, relatively, still pretty new, and my mother’s generation by and large didn’t grow up writing things down in real-time conversations. The closest equivalent would be passing notes in class, and that almost never went on for as long as a text conversation might. But letters had been largely supplanted by telephones at that point, so ‘conversational writing’ was not a thing she had to master.
So whereas people around my age or younger tend to text like we’re scripting our own dialogue and need to convey the right intonations, my mom writes her texts like she’s expecting her Eighth grade English teacher to come and mark them in red pen. She has learned that proper punctuation and mistakes are more acceptable, but when she considers putting effort into how she’s writing, it’s always the lines of making it more formal or technically correct, and not along the lines of ‘how would this sound if you said it out loud?’
the linguistics of written languages in quick conversational format will never not be interesting to me like it’s fascinating how we’ve all just silently learned what an ellipsis or exclamation mark implies and it’s totally different in different communities or generations or whatever
at what point in history do you think americans stopped having british accents
Actually, Americans still have the original British accent. We kept it over time and Britain didn’t. What we currently coin as a British accent developed in England during the 19th century among the upper class as a symbol of status. Historians often claim that Shakespeare sounds better in an American accent.
whAT THE FUCK
I’m too tired for this
Always add in the video that according to linguists, Native southern drawl is a slowed down British.
T’ be or not t’be, y’all.
Fun fact: Same thing happened with the French accent. French Canadians still have the original French accent from the 15th century.
Êt’e ou n’pô zêt’e, vous z’auts.
I’ve been trying to find this post for months. I’m freakishly obsessed with this and want the truth of what early colonists sounded like.
T thing/ explain to me why Norwegian has two written languages.psssh why you need t thing WHEN YOU HAVE ME??
Long ago the three Scandinavian countries lived together in harmony. Then, everything changed when the black plague attacked!
Norway was hit especially hard, the plague killed one third of the entire population. And who did the plague completely wipe out? Educated people. Because educated people, pastors, doctors, etc. are usually in a job where they help the sick or bury the dead. And what happens when you’re constantly around a bunch of sick people? You get sick too!
So because Norway was suddenly so much weaker, both economically and martially, and even academically, they decided to join up with Denmark.
An this is where Norway ceased to be a country. The great strong and fearsome viking kings were all but forgotten. Centuries of unions under either Sweden or Denmark had robbed Norway of land they had once conquered, like Greenland, Iceland, the Faeroe Islands, Skaania. All we had left was a thin strip of coast, Svalbard and Jan Mayen.
But then, 400 years later, the age of National Romance happened. Suddenly being nationalistic was a good thing. And the Norwegian people remembered who they once were. Norway was the poorest country in Europe. All the universities were in Denmark. All education was in Danish. If you were someone, you spoke Danish, not that barbaric noise called “Norwegian”. There is no Norwegian nobility, only Danish.
Suddenly France is on fire.
The Americans are declaring independence
Such beauty. Such impress. Such national pride to the people and for the people!
Then Napoleon came along and pulled all of Europe into war.
Denmark joined on Napoleon’s side
Sweden, who has never gotten along with Denmark, backed England up
When England won, Sweden, as one of the winners, wanted Norway
And in the one brief week, between Denmark relinquishing its hold and Sweden taking over, the Norwegians saw their chance and took it.
A couple politicians stuck their heads together and wrote a constitution in only a handful of days. This constitution was heavily influenced by the French one written during the revolution, as well as the American Declaration of Independence. The constitution declared Norway as an independent country, and ever since that day, May 17th, 1814, 17th of May has been known as the Norwegian Constitution day, our national holiday.
Unfortunately, however, the Swedes were not persuaded by a silly little piece of paper and took over anyway, but hey. We tried.
Luckily they were much more lax than the Danes and let Norway basically rule themselves, as long as they followed the law of the Swedish king.
The Norwegians never forgot their brief moment of supposed victory though, and only a generation or two later they staged one of the most peaceful freedom wars in known history and Sweden went “well fuck you, you can have that damn country of yours! Just leave us alone”
sixty years later we found oil and became the richest country in the world but that has nothing to do with the language
ANYWAY, so Sweden left Norway basically to its own devices, and the Norwegians decided they no longer wanted Danish to be the main language. They wanted Norwegian. Problem is, at that time, after 400 years of rule, there was no such thing as anything specifically Norwegian. So they had a dilemma.
One guy, Knud Knudsen, took the structure of the Danish language and mixed it with what he heard the people speak around him. He called it Bokmål
This other guy, this slightly more nationalistic guy, Ivar Aasen (we like him), travelled around the country and found the most isolated farms and villages. The places that had not been touched and influenced by the Danish rule over the past 400 years. These were the thickest and most unique dialects and accents. He mixed them all together and created Nynorsk.
Bokmål means Book-language and Nynorsk means New-Norwegian
Fun fact: They actually held a vote deciding what to name these two languages and Nynorsk & Bokmål won over Dansk-Norsk (Danish-Norwegian) & Norsk (Norwegian) by ONE SINGLE VOTE.
So here they had a problem
‘Cause you see Nynorsk was something that was REALLY Norwegian. Something the nationalists had been pining after for decades, centuries. And it was easy to learn for those whose lives hadn’t been ruled by Danish language for as long as they could remember.
But Bokmål was a mix of two languages, and you know what happens when you mix two languages: It is greatly simplified. This made it easy to learn and it was something “norwegian enough to pass”. It was much easier to go from Danish to Bokmål for those who lived in the cities and had written Danish all their lives.
And while Nynorsk was the one that embodied the goal of this whole language hunt, and the one most loved by the peasants, Bokmål as the “easy way out” for the people in the cities, for the educated politicians and journalists and doctors and pastors who spoke Danish, even though they identified as Norwegian
And this is where they came to a standstill
People who liked Nynorsk used it and refused to give it up for Bokmål
People who liked Bokmål used it and refused to give it up for Nynorsk
and.. well that brings us to today
Though over the years the two languages have slowly been drifting towards each other, becoming more and more alike, Bokmål has also been taking over because it is what is most commonly used in the media. Because the media originates in the cities after all.
Both T thing and I are partial to Nynorsk though we use Bokmål more often in daily life, simply because it is more practical.
And that is why Norwegian is actually two languages.
ok SO. a lot of this comes from various stuff i’ve seen on the linguistics of tumblr, but at the heart of it is that people in my generation (at least in the us; idk abt other countries’ timelines on this front) went thru (or are still going thru) our Formative Social Years in an environment where we’d regularly interact with even our closest friends on text-only platforms (whether texting or gchat or fb messages or w/e), and b/c so much linguistic/social information is actually conveyed by facial expression and tone of voice, we’ve collectively made up all of these textual ways of conveying that in a concise, efficient way
so like, sometimes on this blog i’ll talk about “straight people”, and sometimes i’ll talk about “str8 ppl”, and even tho i would pronounce those the same, the first is much more neutral — it would probably happen in the context like “i’m not sure how i feel about straight people writing stories that center around experiences of homophobia” — than the second, which which is much more frustrated/venting — it would be more likely to crop up in the context of “all i want is to live quietly in my little queer utopia but no str8 ppl have to come along and heteronomativity UGH #over it #whatever #NOT RLLY OVER IT”. or even with more subtle things like end punctuation: “i’m not going” basically just means i’m not currently planning to go to the thing; “i’m not going.” carries much more of a connotation of “i have seriously considered going and have Reasons for staying at home” (and note that capital — “i have Reasons for staying at home” feels different than “i have reasons for staying at home”). (and this isn’t even getting into things like shitposting or advanced memeology, but there are specific textual markers that go with things like that, some of which would be pronounced if you read them aloud, but many of which wouldn’t be)
but, crucially, for these kinds of things to carry meaning, they have to be used consistently: if i use “str8 ppl” and “straight people” interchangeably in all contexts (as i do for something like “the supreme court” vs “scotus”), then there’s no way to develop a distinction in meaning between the two — the only way to do that is to consistently use the different orthographies in different contexts. (to take another example: if something is “great”, then it’s solidly good. if something is “gr8”, it’s more in the land of “i can’t quite believe this is as earnest/tacky/tasteless as it is but i’m weirdly into it anyway?” (sometimes with a side helping of “do i just enjoy this ironically or do i genuinely enjoy it there is no way of knowing please send help”))
the upshot of this is that to be fluent in tumblr (or texting, or fb messenger, or w/e) means to actually be paying a lot of attention to subtle points of grammar and spelling, to know when to use “did u kno” or “ur” or even pull out an old-fashioned tip of the hat to “e733T haxxor 5killz”. most of these are very subtle distinctions, the kind of things you feel intuitively rather than write out explicitly, and so it’s very hard to convey them concisely and accurately to someone who’s not already immersed in the linguistic environment
and let’s be real, people in my parents’ generation aren’t. i mean, sure, many of them have facebook accounts, but these kinds of platforms weren’t around when they were in their “really getting to grips with social interaction” years, and their most important social interactions usually don’t take place exclusively online. for me, all of my closest friends are people i’ve only interacted with online for more than a year now (with a few brief face-to-face visits when various travel arrangements have allowed), so tumblr, facebook, and gchat are absolutely critical to my social life and interpersonal interactions; for my parents, their closest friends are people they see in person at work every day, so social media is a light overlay to their social lives, not the thrumming core
as such, my parents don’t grok these distinctions. to them “what are you doing?” means the same thing as “lol wut r u doing”; “gr8” is just like “great” (and “gr9” takes some parsing … ); dogespeak doesn’t have the same distinctive valence that it does to us. since they don’t know about these distinctions, they don’t feel the need to maintain more “proper” spelling/grammar when texting with a friend — different people have different set points for this, obvs, but in general i feel like “standard (setting aside all the class and racial implications in that term …) spelling and grammar” (with lighter-than-standard punctuation and capitalization) translates to “relatively neutral/pleasant conversational voice”, and then deliberate misspellings, abbreviations, letter substitutions, and grammar deviations are markers used to indicate shifts in mood — i have a vague sense that bitterness tends to collapse down and preserve grammar but weird spelling (“lyk w/e im happy 4 u but pls, i kno u lied 2 get that”) whereas enthusiasm tends to preserve spelling but weird grammar (“what i can’t even no how do air AMAZE”). since people in my parents’ generation don’t realize that doing so unintentionally changes the way their words come across, they feel free to text “poorly” (ie with lots of errors/substitutions, generally mixing various text-flagged vocal tones in ways that are often incoherent) in order to do so more quickly (b/c lbr typing everything out can be a pain (esp on a non-smartphone), and since parents don’t do it as much, they’re not necessarily as fast as our spry young fingers on a familiar interface)
so yeah, that’s what i suspect is going on
tl;dr: parents don’t use orthography to mark vocal tone in the way youngfolk do, and thus feel free to condense their texts and otherwise use textspeak. youngfolk are using orthography to mark for tone, and thus text more “correctly” to preserve their social intentions
Which is something that leads to some confusion between parents and children – I’ve gotten really upset over some of my mother’s texts because they have a period at the end, and in order to be neutral, they need to not have a period. And then I remember that the way she composes text messages (and, incidentally-not-incidentally, the way my boyfriend composes messages in text) come from a different tonal background, and they don’t use orthography in the same way to convey mood. It’s weirdly difficult to code-switch texting, I think.
I’ve been referring to this particular phenomenon as having a vivid sense of typographical register, but I think it also fits well into the broader sociolinguistic idea of style-shifting. If you don’t communicate via technology that much, you basically have just one style (or maybe a simple split between formal like a professional email and informal like a text), but the more computer-mediated friendships you develop, the more you develop ways of communicating textually with all the subtle shifts in nuance that you also have offline.
‘Is that a thing?’ for ‘does that exist?’
Deliberate omission of grammar to show e.g. defeatedness, bewilderment, fury. As seen in Tumblr’s ‘what is this I don’t even’.
‘Because [noun]’. As in ‘we couldn’t have our picnic in the meadow because wasps.’
Use of kerning to indicate strong bewilderment, i.e. double-spaced letters usually denoting ‘what is happening?’ This one is really interesting because it doesn’t really translate well to speech. It’s something people have come up with that uses the medium of text over the internet as a new way of communicating instead of just a transcript of speech or a quicker way to send postal letters.
Just the general playing around with sentence structure and still being able to be understood. One of my favourites of these is the ‘subject: *verbs* / object: *is verb*’ couplet, as in:
Beekeeper: *keeps bees*
Bees: *is keep*
Me: *holds puppy*
Puppy: *is hold*
I just love how this all develops organically with no deciding body, and how we all understand and adapt to it.
when did tumblr collectively decide not to use punctuation like when did this happen why is this a thing
it just looks so smooth I mean look at this sentence flow like a jungle river
This is really exciting, linguistically speaking.
Because it’s not true that Tumblr never uses punctuation. But it is true that lack of punctuation has become, itself, a form of punctuation. On Tumblr the lack of punctuation in multisentence-long posts creates the function of rhetorical speech, or speech that is not intended to have an answer, usually in the form of a question. Consider the following two potential posts. Each individual line should be taken as a post:
ugh is there any particular reason people at work have to take these massive handfuls of sauce packets they know they’re not going to use like god put that back we have to pay for that stuff
Ugh. Is there any particular reason people at work have to take these massive handfuls of sauce packets they know they’re not going to use? Like god, put that back. We have to pay for that stuff.
In your head, those two potential posts sound totally different. In the first one I’m ranting about work, and this requires no answer. The second may actually engage you to give an answer about hoarding sauce packets. And if you answer the first post, you will likely do so in the same style.
Here’s what makes this exciting: the English language has no actual punctuation for rhetorical speech–that is, there are no special marks that specifically indicate “this speech is in the abstract, and requires no answer.” Not only that, it never has. The first written record of English (actually proto-English, predating even Old English) dates to the 400s CE, so we’re talking about 1600 years of having absolutely no marker whatsoever for rhetorical speech.
A group of teens and young adults on a blogging website literally reshaped a deficit a millennium and a half old in our language to fit their language needs. More! This group has agreed on a more or less universal standard for these new rules, which fits the definition of “language.” Which is to say Tumblr English is its own actual, real, separate dialect of the English language, and because it is spoken by people worldwide who have introduced concepts from their own languages into it, it may qualify as a written form of pidgin.
Tumblr English should literally be treated as its own language, because it does not follow the rules of any form of formal written English, and yet it does have its own consistent internal rules. If you don’t think that’s cool as fuck then I don’t even know what to tell you.